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October 25, 2012

Slate: Harvard study links youth aggression to soda

NEW YORK — It isn't easy being a soft drink these days.

First New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration started a national conversation about the sugary drinks by banning over-sized portions in restaurants. Now a Harvard study has linked soda to aggressive or violent behavior.



Based on 1,800 interviews with Boston teens, researchers found that 59 percent of the heaviest soda drinkers — those who consume five or more cans a week — reported an incident with a peer, as opposed to 35 percent of the low-consumption group. The heavy soda drinkers were also nearly twice as likely to carry a weapon. Researchers said they controlled for other factors like alcohol and tobacco use and weight.

The Harvard study didn't go so far as to say that sodas cause violence. But it does track with two others in the past five years that have linked declining mental health and anti-social behavior to soda consumption.

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